At one time the California sea lion had a smaller cousin, the Japanese sea lion. This sea lion was 8-feet long and a native to the Sea of Japan. It bred rapidly along the beaches of the Japanese islands and the Korean mainland.
The fate of the Japanese sea lion was the same as it is with many other animals. It was hunted a lot just for its skin. The meat was no edible but their skin was used to make leather, traditional medicines were made with its bones, their fat was used to make oil for oil lamps and their whiskers for pipe cleaners and brushes.
By the early 1900s over 3000 sea lions were being killed each year in Japan. Finally, by 1915 there were less than 50 of them remaining. The last colonies and much of their natural habitat were destroyed during maritime battles during WW II. The last sighting of the Japanese sea lion was recorded but not confirmed in 1974.